Everyday Barongs are here! Plus Free Alterations on Custom Barongs, International Shipping and Installment Payments via Shop Pay are available

Journey of the Barong Tagalog, Addendum Part 11.6: 19th Century English Artist Illustrations of Life in the Philippines

Wirgman's Billiard-Room in Manilla (1858) - Filipino men in barong tagalog around a billiard table

The full illustration here in the image above is titled Billiard-Room in Manilla (1858) by Charles Wirgman for the Illustrated London News. A description of Wirgman is in our previous installment 11.3.

According to Wirgman’s article accompanying this piece, there was no village in Manila that did not have a billiard table, and the scene depicted here happened on a nightly basis until 10:00 pm. Wirgman found this scene, and the Philippines in general, aesthetically pleasing with all the color and character, which were all worthy of an artist’s documentation. He also commented on the tired and uncaring expressions on everyone’s faces, how skilled these men were at billiards, the lack of drinks and abundance of cigars. The ubiquitous rooster also makes an appearance here.

Wirgman's Billiard-Room in Manilla (1858) (left side) - Filipino men in barong tagalog around a billiard table

Wirgman's Billiard-Room in Manilla (1858) (right side)- Filipino men in barong tagalog around a billiard table

In the second and third images above, we have a closer look at the left and right side of the drawing respectively. All the men wear striped or solid work Barong Tagalog and either western hats or putong (native head wrap) on their heads. On the men whose bottom halves are visible, they wear either long or cropped work pants. All the visible feet in this piece are without shoes.